Sunday, 21 November 2010

It's been released - The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, author of The Forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton (The Shifting Fog)

The Distant Hours, the novel that Kate Morton fans have been waiting for with great anticipation. I got my hands on it the other day and it's a winner! If you enjoyed The Forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton (The Shifting Fog) you will love this. View Kate's video first, where she explains the inspiration for this novel and how she just had to sit down and write, write, write, because the story just couldn't wait.

This is the Aussie cover! It's just gorgeous.

Her dress was incredible, the sort you expect to see in films about wealthy debutantes before the war, or hidden on the racks of up-market charity shops. It was organza, the palest of pink, or it had been once, before time and grime had got busy, laying their fingers all over it. Sheets of tulle supported the full skirt, pushing it out as it fell away from her tiny waist, wide enough for the netted hemline to rustle against the walls when she moved.

I'll start with the blurb from The Book Depository:

From the international bestselling author of "The House at Riverton" (or The Shifting Fog) and "The Forgotten Garden" comes a brand new tale of love, mystery, betrayal and dark secrets...

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Millderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother's emotional distance masks an old secret.

Evacuated from London as a thirteen year old girl, Edie's mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Millderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters and their father, Raymond.

In the grand and glorious Millderhurst Castle, a new world opens up for Edie's mother. She discovers the joy of books and fantasy and writing, but also, ultimately, the dangers.

Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother's riddle, she, too, is drawn to Millderhurst Castle and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiance in 1941 plunged her into madness.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother's past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Millderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it...

My Review

This  book will lead to sleep deprivation. You will find yourself totally engrossed in The Distant Hours! I've loved reading both of Kate Morton's previous novels, The Shifting Fog (The House at Riverton) and The Forgotten Garden, so I knew what to expect and I wasn't disappointed. I was hooked from the Prologue which is a deliciously descriptive excerpt from The Mud Man:

"It is moonless. It is moonless when the Mud Man comes. The night has slipped on a pair of fine, leather gloves, shaken a black sheet across the land: a ruse, a disguise, a sleeping spell, so that all beneath it slumbers sweet."

By the time an author releases a third novel, I'm prepared to be disappointed, as often, like a film sequel, it disappoints. However, "The Distant Hours" was everything that I had hoped it would be...and more! It had all the elements that make a great mystery: a gothic castle, family secrets, a literary mystery, and tragic love.

It is long (500 pages.) Some may find this a little off-putting...but I enjoyed every second of it because Kate Morton's prose has gone up a notch, it is descriptive and brings her characters and Milderhurst Castle to life:

We stood facing one another across the dulled corridor for what felt like a very long time. Finally, she moved. Slightly. Her arms had been hanging by her sides, resting on her skirt, and she lifted one a little, leading from the palm, a graceful movement as if an unseen thread stitched to her inner wrist had been plucked from the ceiling behind me.

The "book within the book" in the form of Raymond Blythe's The True History of the Mud Man is done so well. I want to read The True History of the Mud Man now! Morton should totally publish it ;-) But one of the things that Morton does in The Distant Hours is celebrate the written word. I love what she says about librarians: "it's the librarian's sworn purpose to bring books together with their one true reader".

I'm not a librarian, but I love the sentiment - as I love this book. Grab it. You'll be sorry if you don't.

'And then we're going to dance, dance, dance..."

(All quotes from pp. 71 - 75.)

This is my 7th Aussie Author Challenge Book Review. Click on the kangaroo on my side bar to read more.


Donna Hosie said...

I was lucky enough to meet Kate recently and I found her to be utterly delightful.

I loved this book. Whilst The House at Riverton remains my favourite, Kate Morton has yet to let me down with a read.

The Words Crafter said...

This sounds intriguing! I may have to put this on my wish list! I love hidden pasts, castles, and mysteries.

I just watched Cold Comfort Farm, ever heard of it? Now, I want to read the book.

I woke in the middle of the night (4am) with a wicked headache so I thought I'd see what was new. Glad I did!

Nomes said...

wow - this really sounds amazing. i loved her first two books - i need to make sure i track down this one asap :)

loved the review!


Denise Covey said...

Donna: Yes, I've been to one of her author signings too (Forgotten Garden.) She is a sweetie..:)

Words Crafter: Hope your headache is okay! No, I haven't seen Cold Comfort Farm - did it give you the headache?

Nomes: She is really developing her style..:)

joanne fox said...

I think I would really like this one. I enjoyed The House At Riverton, and I will be interested to see how her writing style has developed since then.

Denise Covey said...

Joanne: You won't be disappointed..:)

Jai Joshi said...

This looks fascinating. Thanks for the review.


dolorah said...

Sound mysterious indeed.

A good review Denise.


Adina West said...

Haven't read ANY of her books. A fellow Aussie and all. Shame on me!

I do love the book cover too.

Sounds like I'll have to add all three of her books to the TBR list...

Carol Riggs said...

This does sound fascinating! The excerpts show she is a good--almost poetic--writer with her prose, too.

Joanna St. James said...

you know when your reading gets intense and you sit up and lean into the computer screen? that is what this book review did to me, am off to see my good friends at the book depository.

Denise Covey said...

Jai: You won't be sorry..:)

Donna: Thanks..:)

Adina: Oh, read them all. You'll love them..:)

Carol: She does wax lyrical. Love it. My style..:)

Joanna: Glad it does that to you..:) Let me know what you think.

Jenny Beattie said...

I'm just reading this now. I'm trying to take it slowly and not rush through so that I stretch out the time I get to spend with her characters.

Denise Covey said...

Jenny: that's great. It can get a bit tricky following her POVs..:)